Silken Laumann: this is hard, but we will be OK.

As more and more of us are self-isolating in our homes, worrying about the health of our loved ones, and generally having our lives turned upside down, I am not, for the most part, hearing people complaining. Yes, we are stressed. Yes, we are worried. Yes, we have moments of freaking out. But, what I am hearing far more often is people looking out for one another. People asking each other, “How are you doing?” Is everyone safe?” “Do you need anything?” “Is everyone healthy?”

In my own community in Victoria, I have seen people step up in the best ways. My neighbours are dropping off food and supplies for a neighbor who is under quarantine; neighbours are reaching out to those who are away, encouraging them to come home quickly to ensure they are kept safe and healthy; and neighbors are reaching out to the families of front line healthcare workers who need extra support and comfort while their loved ones are at work providing incredible and essential care for others. So, despite what I hear too often from social media; it would appear that during the most challenging of times, we do step up in all the best ways imaginable.

The last few days have been very hard in our home. We’ve had to make incredibly challenging decisions in both our personal and professional lives. Since our family is grounded in the singular vision of protecting the health and safety of Canadians, even though this has challenged us to our core, we know that we have to continue to make tough decisions to do our part.

When we are going to sleep at night, we can feel the weight of the day, and yet, WE know that we are lucky. We have food in our fridge, we have our health and we have each other. Our special needs daughter is being cared for by an outstanding team of caregivers as we self-isolate. We have been able to get all the members of family safely home. Even my husband’s 100-year-old mom, who winters in Florida, has landed back in Toronto, and is healthy enough to complain about the cold weather.

Tougher times are coming. We are all bracing for it. If we continue to ask ourselves what we can do for one another, we will be OK. If we take a deep breath before panic buying, or freaking out in the lineup, we are going to be OK. If we remember that we are all connected and that together we are going to make it through, we are going to be OK.

My athlete mindset long ago trained my mind to look for the positive in all challenging situations. Every challenge is a learning opportunity, and an opportunity to emerge better than before. In sport, adversity makes you better; it’s a fact. I hope we can continue to keep looking for the ways we can be better, do better, and care more, in a situation which will no doubt deeply challenge us. We are unsinkable.